Suit filed over Cronin

MTV Networks followed through on its rumored threat to litigate the departure of Nick at Nite’s TV Land head man Rich Cronin by filing suit Friday against Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. as well as against parent News Corp. and Cronin himself.

Suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, alleges that Fox Kids —in signing Cronin to a contract to leave his MTV Nets post and take a position as prexy and CEO of Fox Kids Network and the Family Channel effective July 1998 — sought to damage TV Land and steal Viacom Inc. trade secrets by luring Cronin.

Nickelodeon terminated Cronin’s contract immediately after he admitted to signing the Fox pact. He was finally named to his new position last Wednesday and is expected to begin work with the company in Los Angeles later this month.

The suit seeks an injunction barring Cronin from working for Fox Kids/Family Channel before his MTV Networks contract expires in July.

Fox Kids Worldwide spokesman Barry Stagg told Daily Variety on Monday, “We believe there is no basis for the lawsuit. We contracted with Rich Cronin for the period after his original contract was to have ended. They terminated him.”

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